Fresno family mourns their soldier son
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Staff Sergeant Daniel Quintana, 30, who attended high school in Fresno, was killed during an insurgent attack on his unit in eastern Afghanistan Saturday.
The family has set up a memorial in front of their house with at least a dozen pictures of their military hero.
An American flag, which was set up when Quintana left for his first tour of duty, now flies at half-staff.
Family members are left clinging to pictures and each other. "I'm very proud of him, he's going to be dearly missed," said SSG Quintana's aunt, Maryann Echeverria.
Quintana's family said he always had a smile on his face and he loved playing jokes on them.
"He was a very charismatic guy, he had a lot of personality, [and] he had a big heart, said Quintana's brother, Jonathan Echeverria. "He's our family's hero."
Quintana was born in southern California, but he was raised in Fresno. He attended both Fresno and McLane high schools.
He was 18 when he joined the armed forces. His grandfather, Frank Echeverria, said Quintana was a bit of a trouble maker but it was military discipline that turned him around. "He knew it was better to be on the right side than the wrong side," Frank said. "This is what makes my grandson a hero."
The last time this family saw Quintana was during his leave in July. Since he had already served a tour in Iraq he told his family not to worry about him.
"I just can't believe he's gone... I feel like he's not, but seeing all this... it's just so hard for everybody," Maryann said. Quintana leaves behind two children and a pregnant wife, who is due in January.
Funeral services are still pending for SSG Quintana. His family said he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, because he wanted to be buried with his fellow soldiers.
afghanistan, fresno, fresno county, local, rick montanez
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